Progress Report
ICANN Membership Advisory Committee
3 January 1999


3 January 1999

Prepared by Greg Crew, Diane Cabell, and Molly Shaffer Van Houweling

This is a January 3 status report on the work of the Membership Advisory Committee (MAC).  The primary task of the MAC is to provide the ICANN Board with a number of possible membership structures suitable for the election of At Large directors in accordance with the ICANN By-laws, which the Committee hopes to present to the ICANN Board during the ICANN Board meeting in Singapore the first week of March, 1999.

The committee was appointed on December 16, 1998, and began to discuss its goals, agenda, and working methods via email and teleconference.  The committee decided that committee members would prepare periodic reports, such as this one, about the progress of its work.

The committee hopes to engage in a constructive public discussion about membership issues.  To this end, the committee will establish a public email discussion list, which will be launched during the week of January 4, 1999.  The committee is in the process of discussing what guidelines for list participation should be established.  Contributions will be archived in the MAC section of the ICANN web site (http://www.icann.org/membership-com.html), and the MAC progress reports will include summaries of the email discussion.

In preparation for its substantive discussion the MAC has started brainstorming about membership issues that may need to be resolved.  To date, this list includes the following issues: 


  • Why are there at large members?
  • Are there (if so, why are there) members (of Supporting Organizations) that are not at-large members?  How do rights and obligations of At Large members and AL directors differ from those of SOs, if at all?  Are AL directors drawn from the pool of all members, and how does that interact with SO members?


  • Who are the expected members?
  • Who can be a member. (Any qualification such as holding a domain name, having an on-line presence?)
  • Is membership automatic or voluntary?
  • If domain names or email addresses are a vehicle, then how do we manage one individual or entity with a multiplicity of names?
  • How is geography, population, financial standing and language to be balanced.  How should this change over time as these attributes vary?  How does this tie in to the geographic diversity requirements of the ICANN Bylaws?
  • One class or different classes of membership? (large corporations, small corporations, associations, individuals, demographics, TLD)
  • Rights and obligations of membership - same for all or differentiated (depending on whether a SO, corporation, association, individual?)
  • What are the liabilities of a member?
  • Is there/should there be an off-line constituency?  How are people without domain names or email addresses represented?  These  may include universal access users of community centers, telecenters, business centers etc.  How will emerging communities not be excluded including those from developing countries as well as inner city communities in developed countries?
  • Is it desirable to put in place structures or mechanisms designed to minimize the risk that a determined group could capture all or a majority of the at large ICANN board seats?  If so, how can that be done?


  • What identification will ICANN need to register a member? (none, telephone number, e-mail address, proof of domain name ownership, sworn affidavit?)


  • Will the "membership" have any legal status distinct from ICANN?  Will the membership need to elect its own officers to supervise functions or shall registration, voting, etc., be handled by ICANN?
  • Are SOs to be "members", although presumably not having rights to vote for At Large directors (and how would that be controlled?)  Should the SOs be excluded from At Large membership?
  • Is there a way or a need to prevent duplicate voting by SO members?  In other words, should a member of a SO be prevented from also being a member of ICANN?  Should multiple employees of a business be prevented from being members?  How different should the At Large membership be from the SOs?  Is the At Large membership sufficiently distinct from the Domain Name Supporting Organization or how do we make it distinct?
  • Will at large members have a right to petition ICANN, either:  for or against an SO proposal or a Board decision; or in order to ask the Board or an SO to address some new issue?


  • Should members pay (annual subscription, buy shares?)  Are there securities laws or other issues that arise as a result of charging fees?  If not, what consideration will create binding obligations?
  • How will fees be collected?
  • Should fees be uniform or graduated?


  • How are candidates to be nominated?  How are nominees to be placed on or removed from a ballot?  Are write-in candidates to be allowed?
  • What qualifications if any for candidates?
  • What proof of identification is required from candidates?


  • One vote per member, or different voting rights depending on membership class?
  • How to apply regional representation rules when counting votes?
  • How are voting rules to be policed?
  • Should some rules be applied to spread directors across different gTLD constituencies?  Across ccTLD constituencies?
  • Should ICANN provide a forum for candidates to campaign/for referenda to be discussed?


  • Can AL members propose changes?  If so, how and under what constraints?


  • What is the cost to ICANN of the proposed membership and voting structures?
The committee is looking forward to adding to this list with the input of interested members of the public, and to starting to develop alternative ways to resolve these and other issues.
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